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Youth with a Turban
Maella, Mariano Salvador
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Maella, Mariano Salvador

Valencia (Spain), 1739 - Madrid (Spain), 1819

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Youth with a Turban

1758 - 1764. Red chalk on laid paper. Not on display

This is the first of a revealing series of sketches that Maella made at the Palazzo Spada, which is almost certainly one of the Roman collections most accessible to artists with scant resources. The young man’s likeness is a red-chalk rendering of a painting inventoried in 1759 at the Galleria Grande, where it was described as quadri in tela da testa con cornici antiche scompagne dorate uno rappresenta una mezza figura con penna in testa opera del Caravaggio. Today, however, the painting is considered a work close to the school of Giovanni Lanfranco, and curiously, it is related to another composition with a depiction of The Prodigal son attributed to Giacinto Brandi, now at the Museo de Zaragoza on deposit from the Museo del Prado (P00064). In 1762, Maella spent several weeks in the same room at the Spada Collection while making an oil copy of Guercino’s monumental Death of dido. Still, the precise location of these drawings at the beginning of the taccuino suggests he made earlier visits between 1759 and 1760, which would have been completely unrelated to his later obligation to paint a canvas for delivery to the Academia de San Fernando. As the previously mentioned inventory reveals, in Maella’s time, this canvas was considered a composition by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and that emblematic authorship is probably what drew the Valencian painter’s attention. Caravaggio’s name does not appear in the methodically written instructions for those holding scholarships from the Academia de San Fernando as its professors favored other artists who better exemplified the return to classical models that the academy wanted its students to follow. Moreover, Francisco Preciado de la Vega only mentions Caravaggio twice in his Arcadia pictorica, first to emphasize that he followed Nature and second, in a reference to the use of narrow lights to illuminate his rooms. Clearly this was a personal choice by Maella, at a time when the very few works by Caravaggio in Rome were in locations that made them difficult to copy. It is symptomatic that in the mid 18th century, the director of the Academy of France received permission to remove some of his canvases from their altarpieces solely so that they could be studied by French scholarship holders. Still, on this page of the taccuino, Maella seems to have chosen one of the easiest and most accessible examples of Caravaggio’s genius, crafting a red-chalk copy of a young man wearing a plumed hat that closely resembles the figures occupying the middle ground of the famous canvases in the Capella Contarelli (Text drawn from Mano, J. M. de la; Matilla, J. M. in: Cuadernos italianos en el Museo del Prado: de Goya, José del Castillo, Mariano Salvador Maella. Museo Nacional del Prado, 2013, pp. 513-514).


Technical data

Related artworks

The Prodigal Son
Oil on canvas, XVII century
Joven con turbante, contradibujo
Red chalk on laid paper, 1758 - 1764
Inventory number
Maella, Mariano Salvador
Youth with a Turban
1758 - 1764
Red chalk
Laid paper
Height: 166 mm.; Width: 115 mm.

Bibliography +

Bedat, Claude, La Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (1744-1808), Fundacion Universitaria Española, Madrid, 1989.

Morales y Marin, Jose Luis, Mariano Salvador Maella.Vida y Obra, Ediciones Moncayo, Zaragoza, 1996.

Matilla, J. M., Cuaderno italiano de Mariano Salvador Maella (1758-65 y 1765-90), Memoria de actividades, 2006, pp. 42-43.

Mano, José Manuel de la, Mariano Salvador Maella (1739-1819): dibujos. Catálogo razonado, I, Fundación Botín, Santander, 2011, pp. 137-139.

Mano, José Manuel de la, Mariano Salvador Maella: poder e imagen en la España de la Ilustración, Fundación Arte Hispano, Madrid, 2011.

Museo Nacional del Prado, No solo Goya: adquisiciones para el Gabinete de Dibujos y Estampas del Museo del Prado: 1997-2010, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2011, pp. 252-257.

Mena Marqués, Manuela B., Cuadernos italianos en el Museo del Prado: de Goya, José del Castillo, Mariano Salvador Maella. En Roma en el bolsillo: cuadernos de dibujo y aprendizaje artístico en el siglo XVIII, [Recurso electrónico].Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 37-47.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Cuadernos italianos en el Museo del Prado: Francisco de Goya, José del Castillo y Mariano Salvador Maella, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 507-595.



Exhibitions +

Roma en el bolsillo. Cuadernos de dibujo y aprendizaje artístico en el siglo XVIII
15.10.2013 - 19.01.2014

No solo Goya. Adquisiciones para el Gabinete de dibujos y estampas del Museo del Prado 1997-2010
05.05.2011 - 28.08.2011

Update date: 04-12-2020 | Registry created on 21-04-2016

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